As the US government passes major climate legislation, other countries around the world, particularly the developed world, are making aggressive efforts to decrease their carbon footprint. The energy sector is therefore a top priority for sustainable growth and infrastructure investment over the next several decades. Currently, renewable energy accounts for nearly two-fifths1 of the world’s energy generation and has been responsible for roughly three-quarters2 of energy investment growth over the past two years. While solar power makes up just 8% of global energy generation1 today, it is the fastest growing source of new electricity in the US, with 4,000% growth3 over the last decade.
The majority of solar energy investment growth can be attributed to cost reductions across the supply chain, resulting in an 85% decline1 in costs over the past decade. In fact, building new solar capacity is now cheaper than adding the same amount of coal or gas capacity in two-thirds1 of the world. If large-scale decarbonization of the energy sector moves forward in earnest to achieve ambitious climate goals, solar would need to increase from 3% of U.S. electricity today to 40% by 20353.
The largest yearly installation3 of solar panels occurred in 2020, which indicates that efforts to expand renewable energy are not necessarily contingent on which party is in the white house and therefore may be a more reliable and steady industry than previously thought. Renewable energy has clearly moved far beyond being merely an environmentalist issue. Perhaps one of the few bipartisan issues left is that of job creation, to which the renewable energy sector will contribute significantly. It’s estimated that solar alone could create anywhere from 500,000 to 1,500,000 new jobs3 in the U.S. by 2035.
The volume and variety of career paths within solar indicate the diversity a solar investment portfolio can and should have. The main areas of the solar industry3 to target for investment include manufacturing, installation, facility and grid operation, and technological innovation. Companies within and across these areas vary drastically in supply chain positionality, market capitalization, and risk level.
One of the best ways to integrate solar into an investment portfolio with an eye on long term growth is to diversify into all sources of renewable energy, including wind, hydropower, geothermal, and nuclear. The TrueShares Eagle Global Renewable Energy Income ETF (RNWZ) is an actively managed ETF of 20-30 domestic and international companies with a focus on renewable energy infrastructure. The target companies for the portfolio primarily own and operate renewable energy facilities like wind farms and solar fields, energy storage, and electric transmission assets. These assets not only have significant growth potential but also tend to generate stable cash flow streams derived from long-term contracts with governments, utilities, and corporations. By investing in a renewable energy ETF instead of specific solar power companies, investors can reduce their risk while leveraging even more growth potential in an industry projected to overtake fossil fuels4 well before 2035.
1 – https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/climate-change-data-green/investment.html
2 – https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/07/global-renewable-energy-investment-iea/
3 – https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2021-08/investing-in-a-clean-energy-future-solar-energy.pdf
4 – https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/oil-and-gas/our-insights/global-energy-perspective-2022